New York to host biomass power plant

By Anna Austin
Posted February 15, 2010, at 2:40 p.m. CST

Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, N.Y., will soon host a 9.6-megawatt biomass-fueled cogeneration plant, following the approval of up to $35 million in financing from the New York State Public Service Commission.

The park, located at the former site of a U.S. Air Force Base, currently covers 3,500 acres and is home to about 80 buildings. When completed, the power plant will supply roughly 75 percent of the park's energy needs. The remaining 25 percent of the park's electricity requirements will be drawn from the national grid. Plant operator Griffiss Utility Services Corp. estimated that the project could reduce the park's energy costs by as much as $1.5 million each year.

The plant will require about 140,000 tons of woody biomass annually, including locally-sourced low-value hardwoods, industrial residues such as pallets and wood products mill residues, as well as unadulterated wood materials extracted from construction and demolition debris. GUSC estimated that it will receive the fuel in approximately 110 trucks per week, as the facility will use 400 tons per day at 25 tons per delivery.

Components of the project include two 85 MMBtu/hour gasifiers, two heat recovery steam generators, a tractor trailer tipper, receiving bin, conveyors, magnetic separation, a manual silo bypass for direct feeding of gasifiers, a truck scale and a boiler house enclosing the fuel hoppers, gasifiers and boilers.

The project has already undergone a full environmental review in accordance with the requirements of New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act, and has was granted an air permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The commission estimated the project's fuel costs to annually inject about $3.5 million into the local forestry industry. Other benefits of the project include reduced carbon dioxide emissions of about 46,000 tons per year, and electricity produced at the plant would assist in reaching New York's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) target of 25 percent by 2013 and 30 percent by 2015.